BALL, Nicholas (d.1586), of Totnes; later of Dartington, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

s. of Christopher Ball of Chudleigh. m. Anne, da. of Richard Cary or Carew, mayor of Bristol, 8ch.

Offices Held

Mayor, Totnes 1585-6.


Ball was a Totnes pilchard merchant who bought himself an estate nearby. In the later years of his life his name occurs in various connexions. Probably he was the man who brought a Chancery case before 1578 relating to the theft of some salted hides at Plymouth. Certainly he was one of the Totnes merchants who wrote to Exeter about putting a mercantile bill into Parliament in 1580, and three years later he was one of their number summoned by the Exeter merchants to discuss the incorporation of the Brittany trade. At one time he was sued by Adrian Gilbert in the court of common pleas for illegally re-exporting metal, and gave an explanation in the Exchequer court.

Ball—whose house at Totnes still stands—was buried in March 1586, administration of his estate being granted to his widow on 28 Apr. He left some £1,600 at eight per cent interest, in the hands of Nicholas Gooderidge, another Totnes merchant, in trust for his children. Ball’s widow continued to trade, and soon afterwards married Thomas Bodley, the diplomat and scholar, who took pains over the education of Ball’s children. One of the daughters married Ralph Winwood, the future secretary of state.

Roberts thesis.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler